13 DAYS | from $0
DAY 1: LIMA ARRIVAL AND CITY TOUR
A GOTOPERU representative will be waiting to greet you as soon as you arrive in Lima. We’re ready to offer world-class treatment for what is bound to be a vacation of a lifetime.
You will get to view the Pre-Colombian era, Colonial Lima, and modern-day Lima. Get ready, because this two-pronged tour starts rather early.
DAY 2: AREQUIPA ARRIVAL AND CITY TOUR
Your vacation in Arequipa officially begins almost immediately after arriving to your hotel. Take a few moments to get settled in and before you know it would be time for the first part of journey: A city tour of Arequipa.
Arequipa is the largest and most populated city in the Arequipa Region, which means it’s also one of the most heavily visited. Though you won’t have to worry about tons of tourists impeding your progress. Over the years, modern Arequipa has thrived on tourism, and this means that the city is set up for the curious traveler like you. After being recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the local government began putting emphasis on protecting the old and constructing the new. The end result is a very accommodating city. The best part about the city, of course, is that you get to tour it!
There are many great things to see and explore during your tour, and here are just a few highlights:
Although this is a guided tour, it’s a rather abbreviated look at the historic city. This particular GOTOPERU package is about letting you, the vacationer, experience much of the city on your own. After you’re finished with the guided portion of the tour, the rest of the day is yours to explore. Check out sites in more detail, like Santa Catalina. Go view some of the awe-inspiring volcanoes, the breathtaking valley scenery, or just enjoy some world-class cuisine.
Whatever you do for the rest of the evening and night, just make sure you rest well. When you’ve had your fill of delicious food and are through soaking up the rich culture, head back to your hotel, browse through those awesome photos, and get ready for the next leg of your journey.
DAY 3: COLCA CANYON TOUR (DAY 1)
The first of your two-day tour begins with breakfast in your Arequipa hotel. Pack the necessary gear for your journey, including a camera, and get ready for your tour guide to pick you up. You will start the scenic drive to Colca Canyon.
This drive is rather lengthy, but it is a huge part of your overall trip. Colca Canyon is to Peru what the Grand Canyon is to the United States, so expect to see a huge river canyon that was carved deeply into the landscape over many thousands of years. Only instead of barren desert, Colca is actually teeming with rich, green life all over the place. You’ll be driving through towns like Chivay, through the Salinas National Reserve, and through the uniquely beautiful plains of Pampas Aguada.
Keep in mind, too, that you’re not in the valley; you’re actually driving atop the canyon at relatively high altitudes. This gives you the perfect view of the valleys and river below, not to even mention the 360-degree views of the entire landscape. You will view gorgeous marble structures, a wide range of indigenous, unique animals, medicinal plants, exotic fruits, and much more.
Upon arriving at your Colca Canyon hotel, it’s time to relax. Your trip wasn’t arduous by any stretch of the imagination, but your eyes and jaw undoubtedly hurt at this point. So, enjoy a hot meal and take a dip in the relaxing natural hot springs, one of the region’s most famous features.
The night ends with an overnight in your hotel.
DAY 4: COLCA CANYON TOUR (DAY 2)
The second day of your trip begins bright and early with an energizing breakfast. After you’re through eating, your guide will pick you up and whisk you off to the breathtaking vista Cruz del Condor. The entire Colca Canyon region is peppered with these types of vista, but if you want truly majestic views that appear too bright and vivid to be real, Cruz del Condor is the go-to location. As an added bonus, you will take the most scenic route imaginable to get there, allowing you to view the region in all its natural beauty as you arrive.
You will witness pre-Inca ruins, marvelous volcanoes like Hualca and Ampata, and quaint villages where the residents still live life like they’ve been doing for centuries. Once you arrive atop the vista, you will be almost a full mile above the river’s bottom, giving you a bird’s eye view at the majesty of this ancient kingdom. Take your time, soak up the scenery, and wear those camera batteries out. Once you leave, all you’ll have are your photos and memories; do not take these priceless views for granted.
The trip to Cruz del Condor actually takes you past over half a dozen separate locations, so this is certainly a full day’s trip. After leaving the vista, it’s time to transfer back to Arequipa.
DAY 5: CUSCO ARRIVAL AND CITY TOUR
Welcome to Peru! You will be met at the airport by a representative and taken to your hotel. Once you are settled in, a GOTOPERU tour guide will pick you up to begin your Peruvian journey.
Trip highlights include:
• A guided tour of Cusco.
• Visit to Q’enko, a large amphitheater that hosted ceremonial sacrifices.
• Tour of Cusco Cathedral (Iglesia de Santa Domingo).
• A walk through great Incan monuments including Tambomachay and Sacsayhuaman.
• A brief jaunt to Incan tambo, the traveler’s rest stop of Puka Pukara.
DAY 6: SACRED VALLEY EXPERIENCE
Get ready to witness the majestic Sacred Valley! After breakfast in your hotel, a GOTOPERU representative will greet you and pick you up for a scenic bus ride through the Andean landscape to the Sacred Valley (El Valle Sagrado).
Trip highlights include:
• Tour through Pisac, a small town rich with Incan architecture and culture. Be sure to stop by the artisan market to view and purchase unique souvenirs.
• Visit to Ollantaytambo, a town and Incan archaeological site that once was the estate of Emperor Pachacutec. During the Spanish Conquest, it served as a fortress for Manco Inca Yupanqui.
A: Train and Overnight to Machu Picchu ( Included in the Price ) After your tour to Ollantaytambo fortress you will have a couple of hours extra to enjoy this small inca town before taking a 1.5hrs train to MachuPicchu Town where a representative will welcome you and transfer you to your confirmed hotel.
B: Overnight at Sacred Valley : you will be transfer to your comfortable hotel surrounded by spectacular landscapes in the Sacred Valley.
C: Return to Cusco : After Ollantaytambo you will enjoy a tour through Chinchero, an Andean village with Incan ruins and a colonial church that produces extraordinary textiles, woven with ancestral tools. After a visit to the Textile Market you will be transfer to your hotel in Cusco later in the afternoon.
DAY 7: MARAS AND MORAY TOUR
Grab a good, filling breakfast at your hotel in Cusco; you have a full day ahead of you. After you eat, you will be taken to the historic, quaint towns of Maras and Moray.
Moray is one of the purest traditional Incan locations in the region. You will get to see the ancient Incan community in a brand new light, while also seeing and learning about the ancient Incan agriculture which defies belief and introduces you to perhaps the highlight of the entire trip: the world’s prototypical greenhouse, the Sunken Concentric Rings.
The town of Maras is equally impressive, giving you full access to some of the oldest salt mines in the world. Salt played such an important part of the world in ancient times, acting as currency and even starting large and enduring conflicts. It was also a trading staple of the Incan people. These salt mines are made up of over 2,000 shallow pools of water today, still in use despite providing tons and tons of salt for many thousands of years.
After a full day’s worth of adventure, you will return to back Cusco. GOTOPERU has shown you a lot of Incan culture thus far. Now, it’s your turn to create your own itinerary. You have the rest of the night and the entire next day to experience the region on your own.
DAY 8: MACHU PICCHU TOUR
Tour of Machu Picchu, the ancient Inca site with captivating architecture, scenic views and stone structures that defy modern engineering.
A 2.5-3 hours history lesson of Machu Picchu given by a regional expert who will focus on major historic sites including the Sun Temple, Sun Stone and Room of the Three Windows.
After your tour, you have the option to explore more of MachuPicchu on your own with once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunities to capture you in one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Free time to enjoy the natural hot springs of Aguas Calientes known for its healing powers.
A late afternoon train will take you back to your hotel in Cusco.
DAY 9: TAMBOPATA TOUR (DAY 1)
When you touch down at the local airport or station, you will be greeted and picked up by a professional, English-speaking guide. Not just some youngster working as a guide to earn a paycheck, our guides are actual biologists who work in dual capacity as tourism experts. They’re also part of the immediate community, so you’re seeing the area like no one else can show it to you.
You will meet up (yourself and whoever is in your party) with other vacationers, inside of the Tambopata Research Center. This is where you will be paired with a guide, typically one guide for every six individuals. However, private guides for solo excursions or private parties are certainly available; just let us know about your wishes in advance.
After this, the tour officially begins with an initial airport transfer and a fast drive to the Puerto Maldonado Headquarters. This is where you will be briefed on your coming excursion, much like a mission, and our professional guides will tell you what to pack, what to leave behind, and what to watch out for over the course of the next few days. Due to the boat travel, there are weight limits.
After everything is situated, you will be transferred to the Tambopata River Port, which is a scenic, 20-minute drive to the native village of Infierno. From here, you will transfer via boat to Refugio Amazonas. The boat ride is lengthy, but you are going right through the buffer zone of the incredibly large conversation unit (1.3 million hectares), so you will get to see some truly unique and beautiful sights.
Now that the initial traveling is over, it’s time to really get started. It’s been a long journey with a few transfers, and you are probably very hungry at this point. You will be served a boxed lunch, full of fresh food from the area, and then will meet up with the lodge manager to have a formal orientation for the coming adventure. After receiving some navigation and safety tips, you will eat a fantastic dinner before setting out to the edge of the river at night.
This is the caiman search portion of the trip. A caiman is a type of alligator that can best be described as an alligator-crocodile blend (though they’re actually their own species within the genus). It’s pitch black on the Tambopata at this point, and you can hear the crazy sounds of the jungle.
With only headlamps and flashlights from the boat, you will search for the red, piercing eyes of the ferocious-looking caiman. Don’t worry though; they’re quite tame in comparison to others in the species. Hopefully spotting some of these creatures, you will return to the Refugio Amazonas to rest. Day one was long, filled with a lot of travel and instruction. Day two onward is all about the actual adventure. So sleep tight.
DAY 10: TAMBOPATA TOUR (DAY 2)
Upon waking, you will be served a fantastic local breakfast that will fill you up and give you plenty of energy for the trip to come. First stop: Canopy tower.
Make sure you have your walking boots ready because it’s time to take a 30-minute hike through the refuge to canopy tower. This is actually a manmade structure that was developed to give tourists a great vantage point. It is a 25-meter-high scaffolding structure that has a sturdy, safe staircase. What’s so cool about this tower is that it’s built on top of the highest ground of the area, so climbing up here gives you a true bird’s eye view of the entire area. You will be able to see for miles into the Tambopata reserve, and you will see the varied flocks of canopy, the beautiful toucans, and even the bright blue macaws.
After a little bit of bird-watching, it’s time to visit Oxbow Lake. The idea here is to view the wildlife in a very personable fashion, so you will paddle out to the lake in a canoe, or ride out in a catamaran, and keep your eyes peeled for caiman, horned screamers, and hoatzin. If you’re lucky, you might just see the illusive otter, which is actually dwindling in population and is thus very hard to spot.
Remember the research center? We’ll be heading back there by boat, and it is a scenic ride that will last roughly four and a half hours. Along the way, you will see plenty of nature and wildlife to keep you occupied because you’ll be riding directly through the heart of the nature reserve. After travelling for roughly an hour, you will come upon the Malinowski River, and you can say goodbye to the natives and villages. From this point on, people have no stake on this land; it’s only the wildlife.
En route to the research center, and far removed from civilization, you will see nature how nature intended: Unadulterated by outside influence. This area of the reserve has plenty of macaws, flocks of geese, lurking caiman, capybara, and many more unique and beautiful animals that you will see with increasing frequency as the trip continues.
After traveling three hours into the reserve, it’s time for a stop at the Chuncho clay lick. Clay licks are natural attractions for macaws of the area, and you will see macaws covering every color of the rainbow, from blue and yellow and teal and green to red and purple, and much more. It’s only a quick 5-minute walk once stopping here, and you will get to observe flocks of these gorgeous birds as they swoop in and fly away without a care in the world. You might want to practice your photography skills here; there are plenty of opportunities. A quick note: The macaws won’t show up if it’s raining.
After your visit to the large clay lick, it’s time to enjoy a boxed lunch. After which, you will head back to the lodge to go through another brief orientation, which basically serves as a reminder for the trip to come, emphasizing safety and navigation tips. Then it’s right back off again.
Upon leaving the lodge, you will hike for roughly 3 to 5 kilometers up a trail which has a few different overlooks to take advantage of. The longer you hike, the higher up you get and the more impressive the view will be. The panoramic view of the entire Tambopata reserve from this vantage point is nothing less than majestic. You can see the river as it winds through the lowlands below, and you might even see some howler monkeys and dusky titi monkeys along the way, swinging through the new-growth bamboo.
After hiking up the trail and taking in some wonderful views, it’s time for a great dinner and some downtime.
Rather than going out again for a hike, you will listen to a lecture after dinner, wherein scientists will give you a highly detailed look at the macaw, including their biology, feeding habits, population information and why it fluctuates, and even info about the mysterious clay licks and why the birds are so drawn to them.
After the lecture is over, the rest of the night is yours. You’ll be staying overnight in the Tambopata Research Center, in preparation for day three.
DAY 11: TAMBOPATA TOUR (DAY 3)
If you’re so inclined, you can visit a large clay lick just before dawn. This is when the birds are most active. It will give you a front-row seat to a wide range of macaws coming in and eating clay. As long as the morning is clear and it isn’t raining outside, you should be able to see dozens of different macaws swopping in. Green, scarlet, blue and gold, and every other colored macaw will pay this clay lick a visit before their day begins. You’ll also see other species of parrots descend on the lick. They come in such large numbers and variety that National Geographic once covered the event.
After the sun rises and the heat of the day starts, the macaws leave and it’s time for breakfast.
This trail is quintessential rainforest in every sense of the word. For five long and winding kilometers, this trail is absolutely packed with trees, brush, vines and everything else that wildlife love. Zigzagging through the landscape, you will also find various streams and small feeder ponds. After walking through the assortment of foliage, which includes figs and ceibas, make sure you keep your eyes peeled for squirrels, brown capuchin, and those feisty spider monkeys. After hopefully seeing plenty of tree-dwelling wildlife, it’s time for a nutritious, energizing lunch.
After lunch, you will take a quick hike upriver, right past the lodge, to visit a small pond that has a deck directly in the middle. This is more or less like a blind, in that you will sit here and watch the Muscovy duck stroll around, as well as hoatzin and sunbittern, woodpeckers, flycatchers, and many more species of animal who all call this pond home. The diversity within this ecosystem is amazing.
After viewing life on the jungle pond, it’s time once again to refuel with a hearty dinner.
After eating dinner, you can choose to stay inside, browse over your photos, contact your friends and family, or any other personal activities you would like to partake in. Or, you can opt for the night walk, which is a hike through the reserve to spot those animals that are illusive during the day but plentiful at night. This isn’t only about seeing the animals; it is a total sensory experience. The atmosphere is completely different at night, and you will hear those strange, spooky jungle sounds.
Your night ends with an overnight stay at the research center.
DAY 12: TAMBOPATA TOUR (DAY 4)
As day four begins, you have an option to once again visit the macaw clay lick that’s nearby. Maybe you’d like to see it again, or maybe you opted for something different on day three. Either way, if it’s a clear morning and the birds are out, a dawn visit to this clay lick is truly a memorable activity.
This is a unique trail that not every visitor to the reserve gets to experience. It’s very unique in that the habitat is 180 degrees different from the surrounding trails. After breakfast, you’re off to this trail to witness the thin, hilltop trees, the steep and frequent slopes, and the many animals that call this area home. You will find animals here like the saddleback tamarin, and even the rape tapir, whose tracks can be followed around the swamp. After exploring this unique wilderness within the wilds, it’s time for lunch.
The lunch you eat today is all about loading your body up with enough energy to hit the Palm Swamp Trail. This is a swamp that is still actually developing overtop the remnants of an oxbow lake, so it’s fabulous to see nature in the midst of transforming one thing into another. You will find both terrestrial (land dwelling) and arboreal (tree dwelling) mammals hanging out here, sharing the environment, as well as many different varieties of wild fruit.
After your swamp hike, it’s time to relax and enjoy a filling dinner.
Day four ends in style on this particular journey. If you’re up for it, you can take a night hike around the immediate TRC trails. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see many different animals that wouldn’t dare show themselves in the light of day. If you have a good sense of location and a camera with a nice nighttime feature, you can snap some shots of illusive creatures that even professional photographers have trouble catching.
If you don’t feel like hiking, you can stay at the center and enjoy your downtime. Either way, it’s another overnight stay at TRC.
DAY 13: TAMBOPATA TOUR (DAY 5) AND CHECKOUT TIME
The trails are behind you, the overlooks are gone, and it’s time to start the journey back to base. Though being such a long journey, you will actually see a lot more on the way back that you didn’t even notice on the way to the reserve. Your day begins with breakfast and then a transfer boat to the Tambopata River Port.
Once at the port, it’s on to the Puerto Maldonado Headquarters, and then to the airport. Whatever your specific arrangements, a GOTOPERU representative will help you get everything straightened out accordingly.
When your vacation is all said and done, regardless of the package you have chosen, you will still be seen off like royalty. After you eat a hearty regional breakfast, we will deliver you in style to the airport, where your flight awaits.
We’ll offer assistance with whatever you need: Check-ins, tickets, luggage, etc.
Just remember to come back and vacation with us again. You can never see too much of Perú.
ennifer Powers & Family New York - USAView all testimonials
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